We Need, Need, Need, Really Need Jesus: Did I Tell Ya We Need Jesus?

Posted: October 4, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Romans 9:30-10:4 — Why is that when you put religion in man’s hands, we always screw it up?

The Jews of first century Palestine had become so married to the law that they failed to see to whom it pointed. Keeping the law was the most important thing. It was checklist religion to them. They had a worthy goal – to honor God. But they lost sight of God and Scripture in the process. They lost sight of the spirit of the law and of Scripture. They became more dedicated to the law than to God. They built layers and layers of regulations around the law itself so that they would come nowhere near actually breaking God’s law. There was a dizzying array of regulations. You had to be a scholar to keep up with it all. They also used it to separate the “good” people from the “bad” people. It was religion. It was about performance. I am better than you because I have not violated this law or regulation but you have. I have less demerits than you. Jesus was the Messiah, the completion of the law. They didn’t even notice. He was a giant boulder in the road but with their blinders on they did not see Him. The law itself had become their god not the God who gave them the law.

Have you ever known people like that in our day and age? If I do the right things! If I don’t do many bad things! If my good deeds outweigh my bad, then I will be OK. These are the unhappiest people in the world. There is such a great burden of trying constantly to do more good than bad that it leads to judging others for how we are in relation to them on the good-o-meter scale. We often think that if we keep “the law”, God will have to accept us and reject others who are not as good at keeping the law as we are. God will accept us if we just keep a running ledger of how much good we do in comparison to our bad. Ultimately, when we live this way, we are trying to control God. If I do this, then God will do that. We can make this faith thing into religion of do and don’t. Checklist Christianity. Can we not see? The Jews could not see that the Old Testament taught just as the New does that salvation comes by faith and faith alone. It does not and cannot depend on human effort (Gen 15:6).

The great rock that Paul speaks of in this passage is Jesus Himself. The Jews did not recognize Him as the one and only true Messiah because He did not match their expectations and He threaten the cult of the law that they had created. They, and sometimes we, want our relationship to be about what we can do to earn brownie points. We want to earn our way to God. It is the spiritual American Dream. With effort you can earn your way to God’s favor. With effort you can separate yourself from the pack. You can stand above others when it comes to God. Look what I did and what you didn’t! Do more. Be more. I am better than you. It is religion. Religion is man-made. And man it is very tiring to be religious. All the scorecards we have to keep! God does not want religion. God wants relationship.

People stumble over Christ because we are too busy keeping our checklists of the “right stuff” that we do. If we do more good than bad, maybe God will accept us. The law was created by God not for us to make it the center of our lives and our dizzying attempts to keep it. It was designed to open our eyes to the fact that we are utterly unable to keep the law 100% of the time for all our lives. The law was created to show us that we are condemned by its judgment. It was created to show us our desperate need for Jesus Christ as the covering that we need for our utter failure in the eyes of the law. Instead of reacting to it by making it checklist religion, it is intended to humble us that there is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor. It is only when we are so humbled that we realize that we do not control our path to heaven by our own actions that we can come to God. Being humbled by the law leads us to see that we need a Savior. The law shows us the pits of hell because we are condemned by not keeping it 100% of the time for a lifetime. The law demands perfection 100% of the time for a lifetime. It is impossible. The law points us, humbles us, and prostrates us at the feet of Jesus. Once we are humbled and speak out our need, we forget our pride. We forget our checklists. We forget trying to make ourselves out to be acceptable to God on our own. That’s when we are ready to obey Him.

Israel rejected Jesus because they had forgotten the spirit of Scripture. They were so busy swatting at gnats that they missed the Savior. They worshiped the law instead of the Savior. Are you so busy trying to control you own path to heaven that you have missed the Savior. There is no amount of good we can do to make us right with God. Face it. Even when we try to do all the right things outwardly, our thoughts will condemn us in the eyes of the law. We come up short. We need something to get us beyond our futile efforts to make ourselves right with a perfect and just God. Doing the right things does not save us. We start off in the penalty box to begin with. We can never be perfect enough because we have sin in us. It’s existence condemns us regardless of what we do. We need an intervention!

His name is Jesus. God made it so. God said that the purpose of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection was to give us a way out of our condemnation before the law. If we believe in our hearts that God sent His only Son for the purpose of saving us from our sins by being the sacrifice for sin on the cross, then, and only then are we made right. No checklists. No doing more good than bad. Just realization that we need a Savior. Just realizing that we cannot make it about us. Humbled by the law. Begging God to relent on our deserved punishment. Realizing that we need Jesus. It’s not religion. It’s not checklists. It’s a relationship with a Savior to whom we owe everything. Jesus. We need Him. Not just something nice to add to our mantlepiece. We absolutely need Him. Need. Need. Need. Need Him. When we are in need, it means we have to have something from outside ourselves. We NEED Jesus! Not the law. Not checklists. Not religion. Jesus, we NEED Him!

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